Report: Andre Lotterer possible for Caterham debut at Spa

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File this one under the “out of left field” category. Autosport’s Jon Noble reported Monday that three-time and reigning 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Andre Lotterer, also a World Champion in the FIA World Endurance Championship, could make a shock Formula One debut with Caterham at this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix.

The car’s expected to have significant upgrades and Noble reported that bringing in a fresh face to the team could help. Lotterer would replace Kamui Kobayashi, who coincidentally, he raced against in the FIA WEC last season.

Lotterer has past ties to the new management group at Caterham. As a rookie at Le Mans in 2009, Lotterer drove with Colin Kolles’ customer Audi R10 TDI program, and the sister car was driven by Christijan Albers. Albers and Kolles are now involved with Caterham, having been identified in the management shake-up earlier this year.

Both Lotterer’s main program, Audi Sport, and his Super Formula effort would need to sign off on the deal to allow it to happen.

The move would be a surprise. Lotterer, the 32-year-old German, served as Jaguar’s test driver in 2002, taking over for Tomas Scheckter in the role. But he never sniffed a race seat.

If it happens, this would be the first in-season driver change of 2014. Each of the last two years, there’s been only one, both times at Lotus (Jerome d’Ambrosio in for Romain Grosjean at the 2012 Italian Grand Prix and Heikki Kovalainen in for Kimi Raikkonen at last year’s United States and Brazilian Grands Prix).

Ken Roczen signs with HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki for 2023

Roczen Progressive Ecstar Suzuki
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ANAHEIM, California – Ken Roczen will make the move from HRC Honda to H.E.P. Motorsports with the Progressive Ecstar Suzuki team, ending a long and eventful offseason that saw his split from his longstanding team after he committed to running World Supercross (WSX).

“H.E.P. Motorsports is thrilled to announce that the team has signed Ken Roczen as its premier rider for the 2023 season,” the team announced on Instagram. “Former AMA Motocross champion Roczen will be aboard a Suzuki RM-Z450. Roczen, who won his most recent championship on a Suzuki, will be reunited with the brand and bring his exciting style, determination, and grit back to the RM Army.

“Ken Roczen will compete in the upcoming 2023 Supercross and Motocross Championship series which is set to start on January 7 at Anaheim Stadium in Southern California.”

For Roczen, it is a return to the bike of his youth and on which he had some of his greatest professional success.

“This thing has been going on for weeks and weeks and weeks in the making, but there was so much uncertainty,” Roczen told NBC Sports during Monster Energy Supercross Media Sessions. “It was a very unique situation. I just finally signed two nights ago, so it’s really only legit once the ink hits the paper. It’s been in the works for a long time, but there were just a lot of questions and a lot of input from a lot of other teams too.

“Good things take time, and I’m okay with that. I grew up riding Suzuki. Ot’s like a homecoming. It’s a special feeling”

Roczen won the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship on a Suzuki before making the move to Honda. That year he won nine of 12 Nationals and finished no worse than second as he easily outpaced Eli Tomac by 86 points. He finished third in his next Pro Motocross outing in 2018 after sitting out the outdoor season in 2017.

“I am beyond excited to reconnect with Suzuki for the 3rd time in my career. We’ve had a lot of success in the past and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in our future.” Roczen said in the Instagram post.